Why the Nexus 7 is Not a Tablet for Photography Enthusiasts

Sections: Phoneography, Photo Apps

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Google’s 7″ tablet, the Nexus 7, released recently and reviewers have been singing its praises as an extremely powerful Android device for a low cost. I have been using it, and it is one of the best Android experiences out there. But for the photography enthusiast, is this a device worth using?

First, the obvious lack of a rear-facing camera is a downside – no one is going to be setting up to take any photos with the front-facing camera besides self-shots. Getting photos onto the Nexus 7 is not a problem. With a micro-USB host cable, cameras can be plugged into the Nexus 7 and photos can be imported. This even works with plugging in iOS devices! The cable can be found for cheap on eBay or Amazon. The other method is to use a cloud service like Dropbox, or Google+’s Instant Upload, which has a fantastic integration in the native Android Gallery app.

For photo editing apps, the problem is that the 7“ screen size is meant to be used more like a giant smartphone rather than a tablet like the iPad. Yes, it is easier to edit photos on the Nexus 7 than on most Android phones. It just doesn’t have the kind of massive space benefits of a 10” tablet. However, apps designed for a phone work well enough, much better than a 10″ tablet does. However, the large size of the screen leads to some interface elements being not in the optimal position for the screen size. Aviary works well for editing, with just more buttons displayed on the bottom bar, for example.

The Nexus 7 is extremely powerful for gaming and HD movie watching, but two factors are a real bugaboo for phoneographers. One, the lack of storage: 8 GB on the $199 model is absolutely paltry. Go for the 16 GB if possible. Second, the screen suffers from some significant bright detail issues, according to DisplayMate. That alone is a non-starter for photography enthusiasts.

So, my suggestion for the phoneographer looking at the Nexus 7 is to look elsewhere. It he 7“ tablet size is really meant for media consumption, not as an outlet for creativity. Consider a 10” Android tablet like the Transformer Prime or the iPad instead. It’s hard to say that one would be disappointed with the Nexus 7 – it is probably the best Android experience yet – but it’s not ideal for photography.

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  1. “…no one is going to be setting up to take any photos with the front-facing camera besides self-shots.”

    Yet holding up a tablet with a rear facing camera, using it like a traditional camera is sought after? It looks silly.

    I like the second half of your review and I’d urge you to expand on what photographers could benefit from the Nexus 7 could offer in terms of work flow.

  2. It’s true that it’s no good at all for *creating* photograhpy; the front camera is there really just for video chat, which it’s fine for. However, using it to *view* photography is another matter. Personally I don’t and have no desire to edit photos on any tablet of any size – I’ll use a full desktop computer for that. But for viewing photo albums round the dinner table, streaming them from amazon photos or google+ photos or Flickr or whatever, is a complete joy. All of a sudden all those old photo albums that I’ve scanned and put up in the cloud can be viewed round the table. I can chuck my mum the device and all of a sudden she can view old albums that she hasn’t seen in years. And new ones!

    So in summary, I would argue that a device may be no good for creating and editing photos but viewing photos is a completely different matter.

    Hugo Read